Most Japanese embassy staff in Ukraine to leave as tensions rise

Japan’s embassy in Kyiv said on Sunday that most of its staff would leave Ukraine as tensions quickly mounted over a possible Russian invasion following Moscow’s military buildup near the border.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrives at his office in Tokyo on February 14, 2022. (Kyodo)

Japanese nationals in Ukraine were told on Friday to leave the country immediately and told in an email sent by the embassy that its function will be further limited from Monday as “only a few” staff will remain in the country.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters in Hawaii on Saturday, after holding three-way ministerial talks with the United States and South Korea, that the Japanese in Ukraine were told to evacuate “immediately from the safest way”.

The number of embassy staff expected to remain in the country should be reduced to fewer than 10, including Japan’s ambassador to Ukraine, Kuninori Matsuda, a Japanese government official in Tokyo said on Monday.

The embassy referred to media reports that cite a comment by a senior US official that a Russian invasion could begin during the Beijing Winter Olympics until next Sunday. Washington has already ordered its citizens to evacuate.

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